Xstrata cuts projects over 'Henry' tax

Xstrata has shelved A$586m (£336m) of investment in two mines in Queensland, blaming Australia's controversial "Henry" supertax on mining profits.

As he postponed the coal and copper projects yesterday, the chief executive Mick Davis said the 40 per cent tax on profits would create "significant uncertainty for the future of mining investment in Australia" and would "impair the value of previously-approved projects".

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has dismissed as "bunkum"claims that miners will be driven out of Australia, but Xstrata is not the only one to shelve schemes. Last month, Fortescue Metals put A$15bn of projects on hold.

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